American Art Songs & Instrumental Music by composer Juliana Hall

Composer and Pianist Juliana Hall

By encore time, she [Dawn Upshaw] had ... given a breathtaking display of virtuosity in Night Dances, a brilliant cycle of songs ... Juliana Hall used every trick in the book—melodic and half-spoken, tonal and nontonal.
— Joseph McLellan, The Washington Post

Juliana Hall caught much of Emily Dickinson's humor and gentle lyricism in seven songs drawn from her letters ...
A bright, extended tonality and a moving, spare lyricism allowed the texts to breathe ... the most genuinely moving music of the afternoon.
— Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe

... finest of all the works, we were treated to four extraordinarily beautiful Rilke Songs by Juliana Hall ... These songs were intimate, melancholy, haunting.
— Philip Greene, The New Haven Register

Juliana Hall is known primarily as an American art song and vocal chamber music composer whose works have been described as “brilliant” (Joseph McLellan,The Washington Post), “the most genuinely moving music of the afternoon” (Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe), and “legitimate modern heirs to the great tradition of German lieder” (Philip Greene, New Haven Register).

Among Hall’s many commissions are song cycles and vocal chamber works for Metropolitan Opera singers Dawn Upshaw and David Malis; Feminine Musique (a vocal duo comprised of MET singers Tammy Hensrud and Korliss Uecker); New York’s Mirror Visions Ensemble; and Philadelphia’s art song organization Lyric Fest.

Hall’s music has been heard in 26 countries on six continents, including performances at the 92nd Street Y in New York; Ambassador Auditorium in Los Angeles; Herbst Theatre in San Francisco; the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston; the Kemper Art Museum in Saint Louis; the Library of Congress in Washington, DC; the Ordway Theater in St. Paul; Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris; and Wigmore Hall in London.

Hall's compositions have been presented at the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar, the Schubert Club Song Festival, SongFest, and the Norfolk, Ojai and Tanglewood music festivals as well, and have also been broadcast on the BBC and NPR radio networks, as well as by stations in Canada, England, France, Indonesia, the Netherlands, South Africa, and throughout the U.S.

A few of the many musicians performing Hall’s works are singers Julia Broxholm, Jane Bryden, Joel Burcham, Cherie Caluda, Amy Champagne, Katherine Eberle, Allegra Giagu, Christopher Dylan Herbert, Danya Katok, Richard Lalli, Cassandra Manning, Diana Newman, Stephen Salters, Pamela Jordan Schiffer, Jane Sheldon, and Jayne West; collaborative pianists Elizabeth Avery, Bretton Brown, Margo Garrett, Kayo Iwama, Gilbert Kalish, Sheila Kibbe, Mark Markham, Nicole Panizza, J. J. Penna, Karen Sauer, and Valerie Trujillo; and instrumentalists Sara Andon, Cecylia Barczyk, Lori Barnet, Tod Bowermaster, Eric Dahlin, Kate Dillingham, Natasha Farny, Carolyn Hove, Carrie Koffman, Clifford Leaman, Margaret Marco, Edward Palanker, Kristin Thelander, and Elena Yárritu.

During the 2014-2015 concert season, the New York-based organization Joy in Singing presented Hall’s soprano song cycle Syllables of Velvet, Sentences of Plush on the “Concerts at One” series at Trinity Church Wall Street, sung by Samantha Malk with pianist Brent Funderburk, and the piece was also heard on the San Diego Museum of Art’s “Art of Music” series, sung by Susan Narucki with pianist Steven Lewis. In addition, Hall’s tenor song cycle The Holy Sonnets of John Donne was performed by Jon English and pianist Paul Plummer as part of a Holy Week meditation service at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

The 2015-2016 season includes the Australian premiere of Hall’s baritone song cycle Julie-Jane in Melbourne, with Michael Lampard and pianist Rhodri Clarke, and the world premieres of Hall’s soprano song A Northeast Storm by Kelly Ann Bixby and pianist Laura Ward (on a special Lyric Fest topical concert of songs setting letters instead of poems) and her song cycles Music like a Curve of Gold, by the group Feminine Musique with pianist Christopher Oldfather, in Connecticut, and O Mistress Mine, written for renowned countertenor Brian Asawa, with whom Hall is performing the work at the 2016 Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.

Additional highlights of the 2015-2016 season include a performance of Hall’s song cycle Letters from Edna by Abigail Levis and pianist Miriam Leskis on the “Joy in Singing/Edward T. Cone Foundation Annual Composers Concert” at Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center; a performance of her cycle Lovestars by Laura Dixon Strickling, cellist Ben Larsen, and pianist Daniel Schlosberg on the “Second Street Sonorities” series in New York; another performance of Syllables of Velvet, Sentences of Plush, this time by sopranos Joana Gil and Gabriella Pineda-Rodrigues with pianist Gavin Roberts on London’s “Song in the City” series; and a performance of the song cycle One Art by the CHAI Collaborative Ensemble in Chicago.

In addition to concert performances and radio broadcasts, Hall’s works have been recorded on the Albany and Vienna Modern Masters labels. In 2015 Hall was awarded a Recording Grant from the Sorel Organization to produce a CD of song cycles, to be recorded by Grammy-winning soprano Susan Narucki and countertenor Brian Asawa.

Highlights of the 2016-2017 season will also include the world premieres of a large-scale vocal setting of Elizabeth Bishop’s poem Roosters, by Feminine Musique and pianist Christopher Oldfather, and Hall's song cycle Upon This Summer's Day, by soprano Nadine Benjamin at the 2016 London Festival of American Music, as well as a newly-commissioned work for two cellos and dancers by the group CelloPointe (a chamber music/dance organization founded by ex-Beaux Arts Trio and Guarneri Quartet cellist Peter Wiley and his daughter Dona, a professional dancer).

Juliana Hall began her musical career as a pianist, studying with Boris Berman, Martin Canin, Jeanne Kirstein, Seymour Lipkin, and Lee Luvisi. She became a composition major at the Yale School of Music, where she earned her Master’s degree in Composition studying with Martin Bresnick, Leon Kirchner, and Frederic Rzewski, and she completed her formal composition studies with composer Dominick Argento in Minneapolis. In 1989 she received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition.

 

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